Qantas cuts more than 6,000 jobs as COVID-19 bite harder

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Qantas will axe 6,000 jobs in a bid to survive the damages caused by coronavirus pandemic, the airline says.

The cuts equate to about a fifth of the airline’s workforce prior to the Covid-19 crisis. In March, it furloughed more than 80 percent of its staff.

Australia’s national carrier said the collapse in global air travel had devastated revenues, tour telegraph reported.

Last week, the Australian government said its border would most likely remain closed into next year.

It prompted Qantas to cancel all international flights until late October, except for those to New Zealand.

On Thursday, Chief executive Alan Joyce said: “The actions we must take will have a huge impact on thousands of our people…But the collapse in billions of dollars in revenue leaves us little choice if we are to save as many jobs as possible, long term.

“We have to position ourselves for several years where revenues will be much lower. And that means becoming a smaller airline in the short term.

“The remainder – mostly those supporting international flying – will return more slowly.”

He explained how the airline expects smaller revenues for the next three years and so must become a smaller workforce to survive.

Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor of FlightGlobal, told the BBC that the measures should help support the airline as it deals with the fallout from the pandemic.

“Qantas’s mix of job cuts, fleet reductions, and capital raising are designed to reduce costs during a demand crisis for the industry, and retain a solid core for the eventual rebound. In the short to medium term, Australia’s strong domestic market should help Qantas’s revenue partially revive.”

Australia has flattened its virus curve faster than other nations, meaning demand for domestic flights has returned and is expected to fully recover by 2022.

But international demand at that time is forecast to be half of what it was, Qantas said.

The airline also plans to raise A$1.9bn (£1.05bn; $1.3bn) in equity – its first such move in 10 years – to bring in new funds and help “accelerate” its recovery.

Other short-term savings will be found by grounding up to 100 planes, including its A380 fleet, and deferring the purchase of new planes, it said.

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